Signings must be starters

Gareth Clark 05/06/2018 59comments  |  Jump to last

I really liked what Brands said about any signings – that they need to be good enough to make the starting 11. There is no point in getting squad players or players with potential, when we can use youngsters and the older player (Jagielka for example) as competition.

If we are going to sign someone, they should be better than what we have – which hasn’t always been the case. So there possess the question: Where can we improve? We desperately need a left-back, a centre-back, a dominating, mobile box-to-box midfielder & last in-line, a winger that would make the starting line up.

Left-back: Ryan Bertrand.

There needs to be someone who can slot straight in, is experienced, yet youthful enough & has the pace, work rate & defensive ability. Bertrand gives us that in a neat package. He is a leader, he’s English, plus he would easily rotate with Baines when necessary while maintaining the stability in the team — which is vitally important and often difficult to do when bringing in new signings.


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Centre-back: Jamaal Lascelles & Alfie Mawson.

We need more aggression, mobility, physicality, passion and leadership. Lascelles would be my first-choice signing — he has everything and is very good in the air too, while being a good age. He’d go straight into the starting line-up. If we keep Funes Mori, then he would be in competition with Keane (most likely starter) and Holgate for the starting birth.

If Funes Mori leaves, then I would go straight in for Mawson. He has a fantastic passion and leadership ability and the physical presence too. Mawson would then compete with Keane & Holgate. This also gives us the freedom to rotate when necessary, without too much instability.

Jagielka of course, there as a squad player and leader when called upon — he will almost always deliver. If we play three at the back, Baines can easily slot into the left centre-back position, where his good defending ability and reading of the game will help him, while lowering his need to get up and down the pitch at left wingback, with his slowing pace.

Centre-midfield: Thomas Delaney.

We have lacked the dominating, energetic, leader in midfield for some time now. McCarthy has the ability to do just this - but his injuries have been detrimental to his progress. I would send him out on loan for this season to get him back up to speed - maybe Ranger could get him or Besic, and they would absolutely thrive there. Gueye provides this, but he has been missing a partner. I think Gueye needs to control his position in the pitch a little more next season - he has been box-to-box in the last season, especially towards the end, but he’s been attacking a little too much, and then leaving big spaces in midfield. Delaney offers a similar mould and work rate to Gueye — but more physical, taller & extremely good in the air, as well as having great passing abilities and leadership too - and very decent pace and mobility, that Schneiderlin lacks. I would love to see a midfield of Gueye & Delaney slighter deeper & Sigurdsson ahead of them (but still in a box-to-box, with the high workrate he has). This allows us to have a nice and compact midfield on defense. While on attack, there is plenty going forward, with one of the midfielders making sure they drop when the other goes up - and obviously having the control to not go too far up. William Carvalho has been mentioned - and I think he’d be decent as a holding mid, but he is very similar to Schneiderlin, so only if he goes, should Carvalho come in. I’d rather keep Schneiderlin to be honest - to keep the stability in the team. Klaassen, Davies, Schneiderlin & Baningime providing competition in midfield.

Winger: Hirving Lozano

This is a bit of a tricky one - because I think that it’s time to give Lookman a proper opportunity to be our starting winger with Walcott. Walcott has been fantastic, so much energy, pace and also experience and leadership. Also, depends on what happens with Onyekuru’s work permit - if he can get it - then I’d rather give him a shit that bring in Lozano. If Lozano does come in - it sadly means that others need to leave. Especially because Calvert-Lewin will likely be on the bench with Niasse, as he can be very effective down the flank, as a sole striker or as a striking pair. I don’t see Sandro staying - I’d send him on loan to a Premier League team to see what he can offer. Vlasic should be kept, he offers something different and is very talented. Bolasie will most likely also need to make way, if Lozano comes in - or be prepared to be a squad player which I highly doubt.

Lastly - a position that will be talked about, is goalkeeper. I think that Hewelt is a very good keeper, and is very similar to Pickford. However - I think he needs a full season in the Championship or even League 1, so that he can grow and work on his ability week in, week out. I think that Stekelenburg is decent enough as a backup - Robles, no doubt was a little more solid. But I have faith in Stek, as long as he is injury free. If he has those reoccurring injury concerns - then I would either promote Hewelt, or find a suitable replacement who is willing to sit on the bench and become third choice when Hewelt is back next year. (Rob Elliot or Darlow would be decent options).

Reducing Squad Numbers

There needs to be quite a lot of movement out - with a squad of 38 before incomings.


Players going out:

Funes Mori

Players going on loan:

J Williams

Keep Galloway in the U23s for this season so that Rhino can build his confidence and get him back to his best.

This gives us a squad of 25 players:

Goalkeeper: Pickford / Stekelenburg

Right-Back: Coleman / Kenny

Right Centre-Back: Keane / Holgate / Jagielka

Left Centre-Back: Lascelles / Mawson

Left-Back: Bertrand / Baines

Right Centre-Midfield: Delaney / Davies

Left Centre-Midfield: Gueye / Schneiderlin / Baningime

Centre Attacking-Midfield: Sigurdsson / Klaassen

Right Wing: Walcott / Vlasic

Left Wing: Lozano / Lookman

Striker: Tosun / Calvert-Lewin / Niasse

Lastly - and very importantly: I would make Coleman team captain – he has the determination, attitude and high standards we need. Jagielka to remain Club Captain, in a squad player role.

This is a nice and tidy squad – with a nice youthfulness about it, along with experience and leadership. The most important thing is that the incomings players need to add to stability, not create it.

1. Pickford
2. Kenny*
3. Baines
4. Keane
5. Lascelles**
6. Jagielka
7. Lozano**
8. Sigurdsson*
9. Calvert-Lewin*
10. Tosun*
11. Walcott
12. Holgate*
13. Bertrand**
14. Lookman*
15. Mawson**
16. Delaney**
17. Gueye
18. Davies*
19. Niasse
20. Klaassen
21. Schneiderlin*
22. Stekelenburg
23. Coleman (c)
27. Vlasic
54. Baningime

** - New signing
* - New squad number

Very excited for the future of Everton - very happy with the appointment of Brands & Silva, and what they have said about the team and focus, especially in terms of stability & youthfulness. And signing players who make the starting line-up.

Time for us to get behind these guys and have some patience.

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Reader Comments (59)

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Dennis Stevens
1 Posted 05/06/2018 at 16:21:53
You've shown two new centre-backs competing for the left side of central defence, isn't that rather contrary to the title of this piece?
Gareth Clark
2 Posted 05/06/2018 at 16:44:21
Dennis (#1),

I realized that when writing it – but it's difficult to show in a squad structure that I used that it would be 3 very good centre-backs competing for two places.

Mawson could easily take Keane's place or Lascelles place – and provides more competition than Funes Mori, Holgate & Jagielka for example. He is more than good enough to start, and would be my first choice starter – but will likely be given time to bed in, rather than starting the season with a new centre-back pairing.

James Stewart
3 Posted 05/06/2018 at 18:16:46
With the possible exception of Lozano, I'm sorry but I don't think any of your suggested additions would improve our squad.
Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 05/06/2018 at 18:31:06
Gareth, sorry, not a whole lot here I buy into besides Bertrand.

Lascelles is good but not remotely worth the price tag Newcastle are hanging on him – last I heard it was 30. Mawson clearly has higher ambitions, and if it weren't for the knee surgery I think he'd have been signed already by Spurs or the RS. Even if we sign him, we'd lose him in a year.

As to Delaney, I've seen a good bit of him with Werder, and I just don't think he's good enough to take us to the next level. Does everything well but nothing brilliantly, and he lacks pace – might be another Klaassen. I'll take Maddison over Delaney for the same money and move him up the pitch.

I'd be ecstatic to see us get Lozano, and as I posted to you on another thread, he's head and shoulders beyond Onyekuru. Work permit or not, there's no way Henry should get a chance ahead of Lozano.

I heartily endorse the armband for Seamus.

Gareth Clark
5 Posted 05/06/2018 at 18:43:31
Who would you suggest to improve the team?

I disagree about Lascelles and Mawson – I think we can get them both.

I think Lascelles would be worth around £25-30m. He has the Premier League experience, will slot straight in and is the perfect age. I can't see any downside. Mawson too will go for around the same figure – again, worth it for me.

Lozano can offer a lot – but I'm cautious, due to the jump from Eredivisie to the Premier League.

Delaney has decent pace from what I have seen and is definitely quicker than Schneiderlin and Carvalho. He adds the physicality, workrate, leadership and ability from midfield that we lack. Also will be relatively cheap. For someone we have been continuously linked with & someone who has been continuously linked with Dortmund, and from what I have seen and heard. I respectfully disagree with your opinion.

So who would you suggest?

Pat Kelly
6 Posted 05/06/2018 at 18:50:57
Neither Niasse nor Calvert-Lewin are good enough and Tosun has yet to settle in but looks promising. So a striker is still required. We should have learned from last season how essential a goal scorer is.
Steve Ferns
7 Posted 05/06/2018 at 18:51:58
Defence wise I think we have to keep Keane as we won’t get our money back and he’s shown he’s good enough to play for England before he came and has looked better for them than for us. Jags can still do the business. Mason Holgate is 22 in October. He’s not a kid, play him or sell him. Funes could be sold if someone offers £9m or more. Otherwise keep him. With Morgan Feeney that’s five central defenders. We’ve enough. Quality might be lacking but we’ve enough. We need to get rid of the big earners before we bring in more. I’d give Williams a free, but he wouldn’t cancel his contract and no one else will take over his full wages. So that might be 6 centre backs.

Pat, Calvert-Lewin is good enough. It’s just a question of what you allude to. For me he’s good enough to be sub and come in when the main striker is injured. His aerial ability is right up there with anyone in the league. The stats back that up. His lay offs and flicks are great. He got a high number of assists and that lovely flick for Sigurdsson was a highlight. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s quick, he’s got decent technique. All he lacks is finishing. That can still come. He’s only just turned 21. He’s got time on his side.

Gareth Clark
8 Posted 05/06/2018 at 19:34:42
Steve – unfortunately, you have offered nothing to me regarding “none of them will make us better”.

Silva has said he wants two players competing in every position – and Holgate gives you just that.

Feeney is nowhere near the first team. Williams will go. Jagielka will fill a squad role – I highly doubt Silva and Brands will start him, or let him go either.

Lascelles, Mawson, Keane & Holgate competing for 2 positions is perfect for me. Right age, right characteristics, all have Premier League experience. What more do you want? Jagielka to be a squad player.

James Stewart
9 Posted 05/06/2018 at 19:34:45
We should be targeting players who will take us up a level, not the likes of Mawson and Lascelles (the same guy who Barkley made a total mug of btw).

Left-back – Tierney at Celtic – Class. And for anyone who says it's only the Scottish League, he also played just as well in the Champion's League.

Centre-back – Jonathan Tah or Lemos.

Central midfield – Bissouma or Doucoure (box-to-box type).

A No 9 – Belotti, Batshuayi or Sliman... take your pick; plenty on the market.

And bring Lookman back!

Gareth Clark
10 Posted 05/06/2018 at 19:40:22
Pat #6

Who exactly do you want to get in if you think that Calvert-Lewin and Niasse aren't good enough??

I completely disagree - and actually agree with Steve for a change.

Niasse offers proven goal scoring super sub & has a great attitude. Might be untidy, but he scores goals when given a chance & is great to have in the squad.

I think Calvert-Lewin has the potential to be unreal to be quite honest. He has the physical attribute already at such a young age. The pace, power, acceleration are all there. Very composed and level headed too. He also has unreal ability in the air. Seldom loses a header & allows us to retain possession or creates chances with second balls off his head. Don't really know what more you want? They're both impact substitutes who offer a lot. They provide perfect cover for the striking position & can do the job if Tosun gets injured.

I think Tosun needs a full preseason & he will be raring to go next season. He looked a little sluggish & unfit. But this will no doubt be fixed in pre-season. I am very happy with our striker department and depth.

Steve Ferns
11 Posted 05/06/2018 at 19:44:50
What more do you want?"

To get the £130m-a-year wage bill under control.

,"What more do you want?"

To get the £130m a year wage bill under control.,, ,1,19:41:53,,,ok,2384,06/05/2018 19:41:53,,reader,, 924023,36761,toffeeweb,05/06/2018,Jamie Crowley,,"Robert @15,

You mention some of the returning players and cast-offs in Dowell, Besic, Lookman, Robinson, and Sandro.

I for one think Mo Besic is going to get a real opportunity to prove his worth with Silva. I could be 100% wrong mind, but he lit the place up at Boro and he's a ball winner who I think might do well under Silva?

We'll see, but Besic is one player who I think has been thrown on the scrap heap a bit early. Steve Ferns will know better than I, but everything I've read about Silva's approach fits Mo pretty well if he played in a holding role?

We'll see.

Lookman needs to come back for sure in my opinion.

Jamie Crowley
12 Posted 05/06/2018 at 19:50:15
I agree with Steve @11,

The wage bill needs to get back under control as fast as possible.

Our squad is too big currently. The signings made sense to make a Europa League run, but we all know how that turned out.

Trim the squad. I don't see a lot of big signings coming this off-season, and there may be none. A few £10 million signings to plug holes and that's about it.

We have players Silva can work with. And we're embarking on a marathon project, not a sprint. Cliches sometimes fit.

Gareth Clark
13 Posted 05/06/2018 at 19:53:05
James (#9),

Every single player you have mentioned is foreign, unproven and we need to learn from our past.

Tierney will no doubt be a success and I'd take him. But he's just signed a new 5- or 6-year deal. So very unlikely we'll be able to get him. And also, unproven. Weak league. Plus the Champions League is not really a good comparison. Plenty players who come to the Premier League from Champions League teams have struggled. It's a different ball game. That's why Bertrand is a perfect option – experienced, right age, quality.

Tah had great potential – but has dipped this year. Or he would have been snapped up by a big boy by now. No prem experience – although I'd be open to taking him. I think he is one of those who is over hyped.

Batshuayi struggled at Chelsea (although I'd take him – but our striking department is full).

Belotti – unproven, from a slow Italian League. Doubt he'll do any better than Tosun – let alone Niasse & Calvert-Lewin. And who's place is he taking? Are we replacing Tosun already?

Makes me piss myself that Slimani is on that list. Couldn't make it at Leicester or Newcastle... but let's take him and replace Niasse who has proven himself as a great supersub. Calvert-Lewin is raw, but did very well – creates threats, wins headers, strong, agile, wins penalties, provides assists. But no – let's get Slow Slimani who has proved he isn't good enough.

Bissouma is 19 from the French league... I highly doubt he'll be better than Delaney. Buying potential again...

Doucoure has been quoted saying that he wouldn't move to a team “that is not better than Watford”... so yeah, not happening is it? Would have been a good option though. Plus the Watford links are already broken due to the scandal.

Lookman needs to come back – that's for sure. He will be within the top 3 players in the wing positions in my opinion. He'll start, if we don't buy someone (Lozano will likely start with Walcott if we get him – with Lookman as first backup).

Brian Harrison
14 Posted 05/06/2018 at 19:54:56
I would hope that Silva and Brands are looking for a striker as neither Calvert-Lewin, Niasse or Tosun are good enough. Calvert-Lewin is good in the air and a willing runner but he will never make a goalscorer he is 21 not 18. Niasse totally hit and miss more rough edges than a 50p, definitely not good enough if we want to challenge the top 6. Same for Tosun far to slow to be effective in the Premier League easily out muscled in games.

I ask the question: Tell me any of last season's top 6 would have any of these strikers in a starting position? In my opinion, none of them. Then add to the fact that 2 of the players playing wide of any of these strikers, Bolasie what's his strike rate 1 in 13 admittedly, Walcott is a half decent finisher but the reason Arsenal got shut was he is too inconsistent.

So, as they showed last season any of these playing in a front 3 will hardly worry many defences in the top 6 – the group we are trying to break into.

Gareth Clark
15 Posted 05/06/2018 at 20:00:39
Steve (#11) & Jamie (#12),

Completely agree... But unfortunately you have said we should sign players who would vastly add to that wage bill & add very little value. I'm not sure if you actually read the original post... but incomings:


They would have similar wages – if not less than the outgoing players:


Rooney's wages alone will cover a couple of the incomings wages.

You critise the incomings as not good enough, yet offer worse and more expensive, unproven options (in my opinon). And then you say the wage bill is too high?

Are you sure that you're not too high?

James Stewart
16 Posted 05/06/2018 at 20:06:16
Horses for courses, Gareth. I think Brands will buy young with potential over Premier League plodders who have had average at best careers – what has Bertrand ever done?

Slimani is a target man, but I don't think he can be described as slow. I only included him as Silva had him at Sporting with great success. He also tried to buy him for Watford. So I wouldn't be surprised if he pitched up here.

Slimani looked dangerous against us and I'd take him in a heartbeat over Calvert-Lewin and Niasse.

Pat Kelly
17 Posted 05/06/2018 at 20:07:07
Steve, I think you made my point saying all Calvert-Lewin lacks is finishing. That's what defines a striker. I'm not saying he's rubbish, just not good enough yet.

Gareth, likewise you say Calvert-Lewin and Niasse are good impact subs. I think we need a decent starting striker; that's my point. We have to have someone other than Tosun who can start and do the business on a regular basis.

If Tosun gets injured or off form, we're down to impact subs. But realistically we aren't going to spend on a big-name striker with other problem areas to sort.

Matthew Williams
18 Posted 05/06/2018 at 20:20:50
That's a lot of money spent there and a lot of players shipped out... can't see either happening imho.

Even with that squad of yours, what would we win next season?

Finish 7th?... top four? ...neither brings us Silverware. Please try a different route!

There's only one way, but it seems I am the only Blue on the planet that can plainly see it... wake the fuck up, Blues!!!

Dennis Stevens
19 Posted 05/06/2018 at 20:35:54
I'm really not expecting many incoming players at all... possibly only one or two, unless there really is a mass exodus from the squad, which seems unlikely.
Kunal Desai
20 Posted 05/06/2018 at 20:46:25
I'll be brutally honest, and people may not like this, I would look towards the continent for bigger name signings than the UK. Purely down to technical ability, mental strength and better value.

We already have a core English contingent which need further nurturing and mentoring with the likes of Pickford, Keane, Davies and Lookman. What we need to do is add some real quality from other continents. If we are really going to go places, then go and get proven quality from players in the national sides of Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy. Then we have a stand chance of achieving something meaningful.

Kevin Prytherch
21 Posted 05/06/2018 at 21:52:06
I would go even further in signing for starters and try to cut the squad to around 14 senior professionals.

If we sign a player, they have to be better than the player that's already in their position. If that's the case, get rid of the current player.

There's no point in keeping Klaassen in case Sigurdsson is injured when we have Dowell. No point having Schneiderlin and Gueye fighting for the same place when we have Baningime.

Have a settled first team, keep Jagielka, Stekelenburg and a striker (Niasse or another signing) as cover and rely on youth for the rest of the cover.

If we buy Lascelles, we get rid of Funes Mori.
If we buy Lozano, we get rid of Bolasie.

Currently we have a senior XI of: Pickford, Coleman, Baines, Funes Mori, Keane, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Bolasie, Walcott and Tosun.

We could keep a reserve team of Stekelenburg, Kenny, Robinson, Holgate, Jagielka, Baningime, Davies, Dowell, Lookman, Vlasic, Niasse or Calvert-Lewin. (If Onyekuru gets a work permit, get rid of Niasse.) Get rid of the rest.

We gain a settled team who will know each other's game and opportunities for the young players to step in for injuries and fatigue. This takes the pressure off the younger players and allows them to play their natural game in a settled team. Some of them might only get 5 appearances, but they'd be training with the first team and developing with them.

That's Williams, Martina, Besic, Klassen, Rooney, Sandro, Mirallas all gone and probably about £600k a week saved, or £30 million a year.

If we get into Europe next season, we then have the choice of bulking up the squad, or hopefully we'll then have a load of players kicking down the door to play with a year's development behind them.

Paul Smith
22 Posted 05/06/2018 at 22:11:55
Personally, I would love to have the defenders you have mentioned, Gareth, but where we differ is further forward. In centre-midfield, I would like us to try and get Zakaria the Swiss lad playing in Germany for Gladbach I think. He is mobile and got a bit of a Pogba about him.

Further forward, I would rather buy a pacey striker and give Lookman a run from the left as, Tosun apart, them strikers aren't good enough to start.

Michael Kenrick
23 Posted 05/06/2018 at 22:23:31
I don't know diddly about all this Football Fantasy of yours, Gareth. For me, it's wait and see who comes and goes. I have no influence over the process and cannot waste precious brain cells sweating over what may or may not transpire. Give me confirmed reality any day of the week...

However, FWIW, I really do think Beni Baningime will get a new squad number that is a bit further up the pecking order. But I'm quite prepared to wait until this is announced. And I admit, I could be completely wrong. 54 might be the age of his maternal grandmother back in the DRC.

Mike Gaynes
24 Posted 05/06/2018 at 22:25:32
Gareth (#5), as I already posted, I prefer Maddison to Delaney. Potential star with great upside. I have always liked Delaney for his solid versatility but he's not a game-changer for us. Being pacier than Schneiderlin or Carvalho isn't saying much –we need electricity in that spot.

I don't think we need two new centre-backs, but I have a much higher opinion of Holgate than you do. And I simply don't believe Mawson will be interested in joining a side that isn't playing in Europe. I'd be interested to know why you believe otherwise.

Adam Scott
25 Posted 05/06/2018 at 22:39:36
I don't have a major issue with your incomings. I do think you are optimistic with his many people we have the ability of getting rid of though..
Danny Broderick
26 Posted 05/06/2018 at 23:07:41
I would be happy if we just got Tierney and Dembélé from Celtic, for the simple reason that they would be within our range hopefully, and they have the potential to become stars down here. I’m not sure that Lascelles and Mawson etc are going to become stars.

Let’s get 2/3 players with star potential, get rid of some of our high earning deadwood, and let some of our younger players compete for a first team place. That will do me this season.

Gavin Johnson
27 Posted 05/06/2018 at 23:26:28
Gareth, I enjoyed your article and would be happy with those signings but I'm not sure why you would want Mawson and Lascelles though. Personally I'd prefer us to lose Niasse and buy another striker than buy 2 CB's. I think we'll have enough cover buying one (Lascelles) and losing Funes Mori and Williams. Save the £20-25m on Mawson and get Balotelli on a free transfer to compete with Tosun.
Alasdair Mackay
28 Posted 05/06/2018 at 23:29:18
I think this is a balanced assessment of where we need to improve.

Mawson being a left-footer, young, English and in demand will cost a lot more than Lascelles in my opinion. If we got him for £30m we should snap him up. I think he will end up costing north of £40m.

Bertrand is good, but I don't see him leaving Southampton after they staved off relegation. Sessegnon being promoted and Tierney's new contract is closing the left-back market pretty quickly, so it may be worth keeping Robinson at the club next season. I think he could benefit from a loan, but we may need him in the squad.

Jay Wood

29 Posted 05/06/2018 at 23:41:54
I agree with the sentiment of the OP - recruit players who, if they play to their potential, are nailed on starters.

Other than that, I'm really not a fan of these 'Fantasy Football' posts. I'll leave it to the hired hands to do what needs to be done. And that should be - as a bare minimum - to qualify us for Europe, year in, year out.

Because as the latest UEFA coefficients club rankings show, we are waayyy off being a 'force' in Europe.


You need to scroll down to 87th in the list to find us with around 32,000 points in the company of the likes of (I jest not...):

West Ham
Aston Villa

I know there are plenty on TW who would rather we didn't qualify for the Europa League. Can't agree with them and never will. To go where we want to go as a club, we have to be in Europe every year.

Brian Murray
30 Posted 05/06/2018 at 23:50:10
Marcel now saying we need to get rid of 12 men before we can buy. Hope to god a tearfull buffoon who rambles on about DNA and the Cannonball Kid is top of that list to do one pronto.
Iain Johnston
31 Posted 05/06/2018 at 00:16:45
For me we need left footers for the defence, midfield and wing.

Alfie Mawson, Joe Bryan, Thomas Delaney, Ryan Sessegnon.

Bertrand is too old, 29 before the season starts. Tierney is being seduced by Atletico Madrid and Lascelles is right footed.

For me Lozano is more of a finisher than a provider, Mexico seem to play him up front so if he was brought in that's where I'd like to see him.

With the short transfer window ending before the season starts it will be difficult spending time going back and forth with foreign agents trying to change the deal at every opportunity.

There's a huge list of who I want to see leave, Martina, Jagielka, Williams, Schneiderlin, Besic, McCarthy, Klaassen, Vlasic, Bolasie, Mirallas, Niasse.

Don Alexander
32 Posted 06/06/2018 at 00:37:56
Jay (#29), I'm not in the least surprised by the standing we've "achieved" whilst Kenwright's held sway. That said, the Europa League for clubs in this country almost always knackers their season in the Premier League.

"Damned if you do, damned if you don't" comes to mind.

Mark Pringle
33 Posted 06/06/2018 at 01:41:38
Baines as cover for left centre-back if 3 at back??? Jesus wept!!

Sorry Gareth, I enjoy articles like this but disagree with your choice of targets. I reckon we need 4 new signings.

For my money, Tierney will be top class and way better than Bertrand, although Bertrand may be more attainable.

I think we need a left sided centre-half, whether Mori goes or not, and I wouldn't mind seeing Carvalho or Doucoure for CM, unlikely Watford will do business tho.

Lookman back to start on left wing and I would like to see a left-footed right winger, Brandt from Leverkusen or Traore from Lyon. If we got either of these I would push Walcott up top as a 2nd striker for his electric pace and play diamond 4-4-2 with lots of quick players. Something like .

Pickford GK Stekelenburg (backup)
Coleman RB (c) Kenny (backup)
Tierney LB Baines (backup)
Keane CB Jagielka or Holgate (backup)
New pacy CB Funes Mori (backup)
Carvalho CM Gana & Davies (backup - Davies on loan??)
Sigurdsson CM Klaassen & Dowell (backup)
Lookman LM Bolasie (backup)
Traore RM Vlasic (backup)
Tosun CF Calvert Lewin (backup)
Walcott CF Sandro (backup)

I would sell Rooney, Mirallas, Niasse, McCarthy, Schneiderlin, Williams & Martina if we could get takers for them.

Won't be as easy as I, or anybody else, makes it sound but I am feeling positive about the whole Silva - Brands partnership and think it will be an exciting summer!!

Up the Blues!!

Jay Harris
34 Posted 06/06/2018 at 02:17:27
The players that would immediately improve our first 11.

Danny Rose, Dembele, Vardy.

Get Lookman back and we would have superb flanks down the left and right with a decent mdfield in the middle.

Rick Tarleton
35 Posted 06/06/2018 at 07:24:47
A generation ago, there was an advert on TV with the catchphrase: "Let money be no object, I'll have a pint of JC."
Sam Hoare
36 Posted 06/06/2018 at 09:46:24
Gareth, as you know I did a similar piece a week or so back.

I rate Lascelles higher than Mawson who reminds me too much of Keane, a good blocker but not mobile enough. Lascelles I think could turn into a very decent centre-back ,though Newcastle will over-charge heavily for their captain I suspect.

Bertrand would be sensible and yet I'd prefer someone a little younger. He turns 29 in a few weeks and I really feel like energy is vital in the full-back position these days; look how much Baines has dropped off in the last year or two. If we're going to pay big Premier League premiums i'd rather do it for someone who's got their best 4-5 years ahead of them; 22-26 is the ideal range for me.

I'd worry too as others have said that Delaney may not have the pace. I really like the look of Torreira in that central position who is like Gueye but can really pass the ball, has a £22m release clause apparently.

Lozano would be great and is surely an obvious target given the connection with Brands; fingers crossed on that one.

Harry Wallace
37 Posted 06/06/2018 at 12:35:09
Goalkeeper: Pickford / [New Player] / Stekelenburg

Right-Back: Coleman / Kenny

Centre-Back: Keane / Holgate / Jagielka / Feeney / [New Player]

Left-Back: Baines / [New Player]

Right Centre-Midfield: Davies / [New Player]

Left Centre-Midfield: Gueye / Baningime / [New Player]

Centre Attacking-Midfield: Sigurdsson / Klaassen

Right Wing: Walcott / Vlasic

Left Wing: Lookman / [New Player]

Striker: Tosun / Calvert-Lewin / [New Player]

I know we need to keep new players to a realistic number... but seven new players are needed to have a good squad.

Priority positions for me are: 1) Left-back; 2) Centre-back 3) Right-midfielder; 4) Left-winger; 5) Striker.

Gareth Clark
38 Posted 06/06/2018 at 15:00:12
I seem to disagree with a lot of opinions – which there are a lot.

I maintain that I think where possible – signings should be Premier League experienced, and reduce instability and not create it.

I think Mawson is gettable – he is from Swansea who got relegated. He will probably have offers from Spurs and possibly others. But Everton offer him a realistic chance at being a first choice starter week-in & week-out. Plus he is left-footed & a solid defender – something you don't see much of these days.

After thinking about it – I would make Mawson & Lascelles my first choice CB pairing. With Keane & Holgate proving competition.

What I have seen of Lascelles, he is very very good & is proven. So there is no risk involved. That is something I think is very important & Brands alluded to it in his latest interview. It's too expensive to hope someone will thrive in the Premier League – unless you are 100% certain.

Regarding Left Back – I think Bertrand is perfect. He may be 29 when the season starts - but that is in & around his prime. Also, proven & no risk. I would definitely be open to other options at left-back. Rose's injuries and inconsistency worry me, Luke Shaw has similar issues. Tierney would probably be my first choice, but I highly doubt we'll get him with the new contract he's signed. Maybe Chilwell would be the next best option. However, I'm not too stressed, as if there is no perfect transfer, we have Robinson. And I think he'll do a very decent job when called upon.

I maintain my opinion of Delaney & the need for his style of player in midfield. I don't know where the “lack of pace” information comes from. From what I have seen, he is an engine, with pace & energy... Full of aggression and dominated the midfield. If not him, then someone similar.

In the wing position, I think Lozano would be a good option. And if he struggles a little, Lookman can take over & allow him time to settle. I saw someone say he's a scorer, not assister, and that he plays striker. But that is all incorrect. He plays off the left or right – equal amount of games from each wing this season for PSV. Scores and assists from both sides - many more assists from the left, which is where is see him playing.

Lastly – striker: I really do not understand what some people want in this position. We cannot sign a top class striker and expect him to sit on the bench – especially as we have just bought Tosun & he will be our first choice for the next season. He will not be replaced before he's given a chance. Calvert-Lewin & Niasse offer something different off the bench – pace, and energy - along with work rate and aerial threat. Willing runners – which Tosun is not (he's more of a target man). Calvert-Lewin & Niasse are perfect to have in the team; they are not starters – although they would do a job if needed; they are impact players & give us depth. Plus they will not have issues playing the squad role / impact role.

Therefore, with a few adjustments, my 2018-19 squad of 25 players would be:

GK: Pickford / Stekelenburg (Robles if he signs)
RB: Coleman / Kenny
RCB: Lascelles / Holgate / Jagielka
LCB: Mawson / Keane
LB: Bertrand (or Tierney or Chilwell) / Baines
RCM: Delaney / Davies
LCM: Gueye / Schneiderlin / Baningime
CAM: Sigurdsson / Klaassen
RW: Walcott / Vlasic
LW: Lozano / Lookman
ST: Tosun / Calvert-Lewin / Niasse

Great depth & stability – and a platform to build on.

Interesting to see how many people's opinions differ, but thankfully, it looks like my opinion, in terms of team set-up and squad strategy, is similar to Brands, Silva & Moshiri. Times are changing... people need to evolve with it.

Steve Ferns
39 Posted 06/06/2018 at 15:07:14
Sadly Gareth, I think you'll find that Brands strategy will be for kids not yet ready for the first team and relatively cheap. I expect Silva will request a left-back, and we might get one or two more. I also bet that Moshiri's strategy would be to sign no one.

Just look back at Allardyce's old press conferences. He kept repeating that he had 38 players. It's something Brands is saying, that we have 38 players. His exact words are that he is told that we have 38 players. Who by? Someone like Moshiri. Why are they saying it, because Moshiri is an accountant. Why do we need more players when we have 13 too many?

Also, do we really have 38 players? I count 35 and that includes kids. 38 must be those who appear on the balance sheets for the first team. This has clearly come from the top man.

Moshiri will have hired the man he believes can work with what he has. Silva got the job so he must be that man. He's also a coach of repute. Everything points to minimal purchases, minimal spending, and for the next few years everything will be about the stadium.

Alasdair Mackay
40 Posted 06/06/2018 at 19:05:52
38 players:

Pickford, Robles, Stekelenberg 3 GKs
Coleman, Kenny, Martina = 3 RBs
Jagielka, Holgate, Browning, Pennington, Feeney 5 RCBs
Funes Mori, A Williams, Keane, Galloway 4 LCBs
Baines, Robinson, Garbutt 3 LBs
Gana, Schneiderlin, Davies, J Williams, Baningime, McCarthy 6 DMs
Klaassen, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Dowell, 4 AMs
Vlasic, Mirallas, Walcott, 3 RWs
Bolasie, Lookman 2 LWs
Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse, Sandro, Hornby 5 CFs

38 players.

Did I miss anyone?

Gareth Clark
41 Posted 06/06/2018 at 22:16:17
Alasdair (#40),

Besic, Tarashaj, Onyekuru, Connolly, Grant.

I doubt the likes of Feeney, Hornby & other less prominent youngsters would be in this 38-man list.

Gareth Clark
42 Posted 06/06/2018 at 22:20:18
Steve (#39),

I disagree. I think Moshiri is more concerned about success and long-term success of Everton. In order to have a chance at this, the massive squad needs to be cleared out. Yes, to save money, of course, but also to allow the squad to have good dynamic & competition – as well as a youthfulness about it.

Moshiri isn't stupid; of course, he wants to save money where he can. But I do not think for one second that he wants no incomings. I think he wants to ensure that money spent on incomings is effective and money well spent – and that's why he has brought in Brands.

Alasdair Mackay
43 Posted 06/06/2018 at 23:20:41
I just went off players that actually played a first-team game last season and added a few more prominent youngsters.

Hornby and Feeney both played for the first team last season.

Really it means you could make a case for 43 first team squad members. It really is massive. Cull definitely needed.

Alasdair Mackay
44 Posted 06/06/2018 at 23:24:17
In fact, Gareth, Joe Williams is the only player from my list not to have played a first-team game at some point.

I think Besic and Connolly have from your additions – so 39 current squad members who have figured for the Everton first team.


Gareth Clark
45 Posted 07/06/2018 at 07:43:34
Alasdair (#44)

Yeah – we definitely need a big cull!

I think 25 players is the perfect amount – especially because we're not in Europe; 2 good players in each position & 3 squad players, both youth & experience.

I do wonder how easy it will be to get the vast numbers out of the club... difficult, but definitely doable.

Might be a very busy transfer window – I don't see too many incomings, 4 or 5 at absolute most. With a lot of outgoings.

I like what Brands had to say – some players aren't young, and do they really have a chance to make a difference at Everton. A lot of difficult conversations, as he said, but open & honest communication is key.

Gareth Clark
46 Posted 07/06/2018 at 17:00:10
Thomas Delaney has just been snapped up by Dortmund... An opportunity missed & one I feel we will highly regret!

He would have been immense in a midfield two with Gueye & Sigurdsson playing ahead of them.

I wonder who we will get – Carvalho seems the most likely... I wouldn't mind Mario Lemina... Thoughts?

Alasdair Mackay
47 Posted 08/06/2018 at 11:12:31
Grant has become the first of the 43 out the door.

Shame, but he was a long way off the 1st team, so it makes sense for the lad.

Alasdair Mackay
48 Posted 08/06/2018 at 14:25:34
So our full squad is 43! Grant has now gone, so 42; now we can debate who the most likely/popular victims of the inevitable and needed cull are likely to be out of this lot:

3 GKs - Pickford, Robles, Stekelenburg
4 RBs - Coleman, Kenny, Martina, Connolly
5 RCBs - Jagielka, Holgate, Browning, Pennington, Feeney
4 LCBs - Funes Mori, A Williams, Keane, Galloway
3 LBs - Baines, Robinson, Garbutt
7 DMs - Gana, Schneiderlin, Davies, J Williams, Baningime, McCarthy, Besic
4 AMs - Klaassen, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Dowell
4 RWs - Vlasic, Mirallas, Walcott, Tarashaj
3 LWs - Bolasie, Lookman, Onyekuru
5 CFs - Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse, Sandro, Hornby

I think this gives us a clear idea of where our absurd squad depth is and where we have a lot of players, but few that could effectively challenge the first team.

We have 11 midfielders, but how many fit snugly into Silva's 4-3-3 system? The likes of Dowell and Sigurdsson you might prefer as part of the 3-man front line than in a 3-man midfield.

So... which 12 to 14 players on that list would you get rid of to get us down to 28 or 30?

Jim Bennings
49 Posted 08/06/2018 at 22:14:46
Left-back — Danny Rose

Centre-half — Kurt Zouma

Midfielder — Marko Arnautovic

Striker — Jamie Vardy

Back-up winger — Nathan Redmond

Shane Corcoran
50 Posted 09/06/2018 at 15:36:43
Interesting discussion.

I'll admit I don't know and have little interest in trying to guess who we'll get in but I agree that we'll get rid of plenty and sign very few.

I tend to agree with Gareth on who we'll get in but disagree on the striker issue. There's no guarantee that Tosun will be the number one striker for Brands & Silva. I don't think Calvert-Lewin is ready (if he ever will be) or that Niasse is good enough. There's also no guarantee that Niasse will be happy to sit on the bench.

Before recruitment, I reckon the pair of boys will be asking how good is our third choice 'keeper (after Robles goes) and how good is our next-best left-back (after Martina and Garbutt presumably go). They might well think that there's no need to recruit there.

But I'm thinking, we'll spend a good bit on a ball-playing midfielder and a forward. After that, possibly an up-and-coming left-back. That might be about it.

Tom Bowers
51 Posted 11/06/2018 at 22:20:12
Fascinating opinions and one wonders why, with all the aforementioned names, Everton have not been able to produce a good on-field product over the last few seasons.

The people at the helm may be the answer or the coaching staff. Maybe these plus the fact most of the players are just average or below.

Certainly there has to be a spring cleaning and it will be very interesting who Silva keeps and who he moves out.

I do agree, any new signings, young or old, should be ready to start.

Victor Yu
52 Posted 12/06/2018 at 09:03:45
We need another striker for sure.
Derek Taylor
53 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:13:21
Regardless of whom we sign and the way they are deployed, I am looking for us to have near 60 points on the board at the end of next season.

I know that won't be enough to see us hit top six but it should be a ' good' 7th or 8th and show much improvement on 2017-18.

Incremental Improvement season on season is all we can expect... nay, hope for!

Steve Ferns
54 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:23:11
We have to set high standards Derek. We should be aiming for the 65-point mark. If we fail to hit 60, then questions should be asked. Perhaps suitable explanations may satisfy as to why the target was missed and give confidence that it would be met the following season, so as to allow the management team to have a second season.

If Allardyce was in charge, I'd be demanding 7th and 60+ points. I don't think it's fair to scale back, just because we've got a decent manager in charge. We need to be even-handed and demand more from this overpriced squad.

That said, I am confident we will surpass the 60-point mark, and I am hoping that Arsenal will struggle under a very different manager and so are catchable. Chelsea appear to be imploding, and so could be in trouble as far as the top 6 is concerned. There appear to be signs there as to why there could be an opportunity for someone new to break into the top 6, and I think our management team can do it.

Betting Tip: here's one for you gamblers, Burnley to repeat our troubles due to Europa League and get off to a terrible start, maintain it through Christmas and fail to recover in the Spring and be relegated. Their squad is too small, it lacks quality, and I think if they get the rub of the green we got last season then they could be in real trouble. Surely it's worth a couple of quid?

Edit: just checked the odds and being 6th favourites for the drop shows the bookies are already wise to this.

David Ellis
55 Posted 15/06/2018 at 16:57:45
Like others, I'm not going to engage on the specific "who we should buy" game – none ever materialise.

I agree with the premise that any signings should be first teamers, with the caveat that this means signings of significant outlay. I have no problem with continuing to stock the shelves with good youngsters at minimal outlay, but only sign the like of Lookman and Onyekuru if they are first team material – simply because at the moment the squad is already too big and we don't need any more cover.

This summer I will cheer each departure more than any new signing. We have to get the squad numbers down. I'm not sure we need any new big signings. We had two in January, Tosun and Walcott -– both upfront, so I can't see us getting another striker.

I think the only area we really need an addition is left-back, depending on the progress of young Robinson. Last season, that was a real weakness when Baines was injured.

Elsewhere, we have tons of potentially talented players in every position. The management has just got to get them back to the form the once had.

Steven Bencz
56 Posted 15/06/2018 at 00:32:12
First-time poster, long-time reader from across The Pond and a fan of Everton since '86.

We all know how much money we've spent yet how little achieved. A change in tactics is coming this much Marcel already said. And I think we could actually make things very interesting.

Here it goes...

Step #1. Let's talk about the goalkeeper position. I love Pickford, as we all do here, no doubt... but I have a question: Why bookies slashed odds on him moving to Man Utd – What do they know?

Well, if he has a good World Cup, why not have try and get £50M? Real Madrid want De Gea (although maybe not after today... lol) and they will probably pay up to a £100 million if reports are true. So it's not like they would not come out ahead financially.

As for us? Well, how about Rui Patricio? I know he's 30 but he probably has another 5 premium years left and he will not be a downgrade. Plus he is free. Now that's not a bad piece of business. Make over £50M and still have quality goalkeeping.

After that... Step #2 would be to further raid the Sporting players that voided their contracts because of the attacks in May. We already know there is interest in William Carvalho. Watching him today, he did all right, definitely has size at 1.90 m and seemed to use his body well. Him and Gana providing cover for Sigurdsson would be all right in my eyes. He just turned 26 and while I did not want to pay £35M for him, as it was reportedly looked at, again, to get him for free would be a smart investment. We would be raising the floor of our team without shelling out big bucks.

I was also watching Bruno Fernandes play today but wasn't impressed. At 23 maybe he's too young still but when defending, I didn't see him press the opposition ever. I'd pass although with his age and price I understand if we get him too.

To finish the raid, I would pick up a striker from Sporting too. I know Das Bost was linked to us before but the price tag was crazy. Also at 30, he is not a long-term solution but, on a free, I would absolutely give him a chance to play.

I don't mind Tosun and I like Calvert-Lewin and Niasse as back-ups but having another quality option would be great. We could go after Gelson Martins instead who at 23 is still projectable for the future but I think we need pedigree for the striker position.

What's happening at Sporting is sad but, if we are smart, we can take advantage and do good business. This would still allow us to get both a centre-back and a left-back of quality, maybe another midfielder like Maddison and hopefully Pickford's fee would cover it mostly. Let's not kid ourselves: Moshiri is not happy how little return he got for his recent outlay of spending.

Lastly, in case people wonder, I realize we have 38-plus players and yes, I would cull lots of players to make room and lower salary wages. Gone would be:

A Williams
Funes Mori

On loan:

Robinson (he might be ready but getting a loan in the Premier League playing every week on a recallable loan)
Besic (I think there's a player there, especially if we make it back into Europe next year)

Sorry for the long post – thanks for reading.

COYB from British Columbia!

Gareth Clark
57 Posted 20/06/2018 at 09:51:06
Steve #56

Nice to hear from someone across the pond. I myself, am down in Cape Town, South Africa.

Getting to your post:

No ways should we sell Pickford – he is rising in the ranks at unreal speed.

Patricio has gone to Wolves – decent business by them. However, Pickford is better, younger, and there is no way we should let him go.

Interesting to see what will happens with Carvalho... Either way, I don't mind if we get him, or we don't. All depends on culling of the squad - if we keep Schneiderlin, McCarthy, Baningime, Davies, Klaassen, etc – who I think are all very good players that Silva could easily improve on – then there is no real point in getting Carvalho. (Although he does offer something different).

Still have no clue how West Ham are odds on for Mawson – we need to get moving quickly. He is gettable & has a great attitude.

Left Back – would be very open and keen for Plattenhardt. Great delivery, size, physicality, and German efficiency. First choice German left-back... It's a yes from me.

Winger – looks like it's between Lozano and Martins. I'd prefer Lozano, but I'd be happy either way.

Steve Ferns
58 Posted 20/06/2018 at 10:01:12
No to Bas Dost, he's a big donkey. He only scores lots of headed goals because he is Gulliver in the land of midgets. In the Premier League against bigger defenders who can jump, he'd be out muscled. He can't pass, he's extremely slow, his technique is abysmal and if you think Lukaku has a had bad first touch, wait until you see this yard dog.

Sure he scored a lot of goals. Sporting are set up to give him the ball and his finishing has been superb. He's in the Jelavic mould. But all he does is goal hang. He adds nothing to the team. I'm sorry but anyone who puts this guy forwards has never seen him play. He's absolutely dreadful.

Victor Jones
59 Posted 21/06/2018 at 15:04:57
I agree that we need a new left back. Tierney from Celtic would be great. Him signing a new contract means nothing. That is just insuring that Celtic get a decent fee for him. But as usual we will dither over any signing. Tierney will be snapped up by a top team someday soon. We will probably go for Lee Wallace.

I agree with going into the season with Tosun as our main striker. Let's see what he can do. Before we all write him off. And Calvert-Lewin and Niasse and maybe, just maybe Rooney can be effective impact players from the bench.

Anyhow we need more goals from all over the pitch next season. Our wingers and midfield all need to chip in with a few. A few goals from defence will also help. Can any of our centre backs manage to do a Lyons or a Mountfield. And score a few goals.

Last comments... How about Jack Wiltshire in our midfield three? If this guy stays fit, then surely he's an asset to most teams. And surely he's better than what we now have. Wiltshire .DMF .Sigurdsson. That would be an attacking show of intent with Walcott...Tosun and Lookman playing ahead of them.

The back four would need to be solid though. And I just don't think that I trust our current defenders to be solid. Would 4-4-2 maybe be a better set up for our players. Maybe. Anyhow, interesting times ahead.And surely we will not be starting the season with Williams Schniederlin...Mirallas .Klassen and Boliasse. It's the road to nowhere with these guys.

The times they are a changing folks. But there again when it comes to Everton I've been saying that forever. Maybe this time our management will get things right. Let's hope so.

Eleven committed players. A manager who knows what he is doing. And a plan .And some luck then who knows. May the footballing gods be with us... Up The Toffees.

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